Detroit family of 7 left without a home after landlord rents them a 'lemon'

Posted at 11:11 PM, Oct 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-02 23:14:11-04

Ebony Grimes says she’s been in agony.

In May 2015, the mother of four signed a lease for $800 a month with an out of state landlord called Sandrine Lefebvre LLC. 

However, once the first months rent and security deposit was in-hand, that’s when she says the problems began.  

At one point, raw sewage backed up into the basement. Grimes called for repairs but nothing happened. Then a continuous leak began whenever it rained. A furnace that she says was promised to be fixed still doesn't work, leaving her with no heat. She says there's a concern for the potential of a carbon monoxide leak coming from the water heater. 

After 7 Action News stepped in, an inspector came out to the property immediately. 

The city slapped the owner with 28 violations, including the lack of a certificate of compliance meaning the family should have never been allowed to even move into this home. 

Grimes stopped paying rent, and as a result, she’s been forced to leave by the end of October. However, she’s worried about the next family that may take their place.

The company managing the property, 21 property management, was once overseeing the home. They tell 7 Action News they split from the owner at the end of August after a disagreement concerning her failure to make repairs. 

Calls out to the Florida based Sandrine Lafebvra LLC went unanswered.

Here’s what you need to know if you find yourself in a similar situation:

  • Always ask a landlord to see a certificate of compliance before moving in
  • If they’re promising changes, get it in writing 
  • If problems arise, explore putting rent money into escrow to avoid eviction 

In this case, the city of Detroit says the owner will be slapped with a ticket for $1,000 and has until Oct. 15 to bring the property up to code. 

In the meantime, the family is looking for alternative accommodations